Studios think that they can let projects linger in development for years, burning millions as script drafts and directors come and go, never worrying that the original rights holders will toddle along to snatch them back and dangle them in the face of another company.
Now Warners is feeling that burn after Paradox Entertainment denied the studio the chance to renew the rights to Conan The Barbarian and watched helplessly as New Line swooped in like vultures to seal a $1 million year option deal, with the chance to pay $1 million each year the company renews.
Warners spent seven years trying to make Conan’s return a reality, engaging the likes of the Wachowskis, John Milius and Robert Rodriguez to write drafts and try to shove the film into production. But no one came close and, after the final deadline came and went, Paradox decided that enough was enough. “We have great respect for Warner Bros., but after seven years, we came to the point where we needed to see progress to production," Paradox's Fredrik Malmberg snarked to Daily Variety.
Of course, now New Line has to start all over again – but you know they’ll try, since 300 has made so much money from sweaty blokes fighting with swords…